Rest in the Lord

We are driven in today’s society to have, to achieve, to acquire and to work toward prizes, which turn out to be nothing more than an empty box or trivial pursuits that never satisfy us.

Yet, for some reason, we continue to seek after that illusive prize that will make us truly happy and fulfilled. We look for the mate that will complete us, and the vocation, house and car which will give us status.

We buy a bigger television, more electronic toys, more lights to hang for Christmas than our neighbor did last year; and yet, they leave us flat-lining and they put our soul in the “hospital”.

Our soul continually cries out for rest, peace and lasting joy and fulfillment. We do not really want to respond to the drive to earn more in order to buy more; but we cannot seem to help our self.

Like the Israelites, our disobedience and prideful, rebellious heart prevent us from entering God’s rest (Hebrews 3:11). We live our whole life and fall short of entering His rest (Hebrews 4:1).

God gives us a clue during His days of creation by resting on the seventh day after six full nights and days of speaking the cosmos into existence. He calls us to join Him in that rest, so that He can restore our soul (Psalm 23:2-3).

If we respond, we will enjoy true riches for the rest of our life, because we will prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). As we believe God, we receive all that He provides for us, and we have the faith to enter into His promised rest.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to cease from striving to enter your rest through the power of our flesh in a futile exercise to attain holiness (Romans 7-8; Galatians 3:1-3). Remind us to enter Your rest and to allow Your Spirit to work in us to attain that Godly life You offer (Romans 8:10-17).

Through Your Word, we clearly see that as we abide in You, and allow Your Spirit to do His transforming work in our nature and character, we will see Your fruitfulness in our life (John 15:1-14; Galatians 5:22-23). Give us the faith of Your dear Son, Jesus, to enter into Your rest now and forever (Hebrews 4:2; Genesis 2:2)

Thought for the Day:
Once we finally recognize our insufficiency to accomplish the works in our own strength, which God pre-ordained for us to do, we surrender our life in whole-hearted obedience to Christ and enter into His rest. – Ephesians 2:10: Hebrews 4:1-10

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Walking in the Spirit

There is a fine line between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Our human soul – our mind, emotions and will – has definite opinions about everything, and wants to be heard in the midst of our day.

Of course, this is a very important exercise. We often neglect our body and soul. We push our body to the limit, ignoring warning signs. We discount the cautions of our soul.

We grab a protein bar instead of eating a balanced meal. We fail to exercise, because we have one more item to accomplish for work. We do not realize that we are full of destructive negative emotions.

Yet, our body, soul and spirit work much better when they are all in sync with God’s Spirit. We care for our body, pay attention to the way in which life is affecting our soul, and we stay in tune to God in our spirit.

God used the game of Scrabble to give me an object lesson on listening to the Spirit rather than obeying the thoughts in my mind.

Rather than to look for a word I already know, I listen to the Spirit and place the letters He tells me to use. I learn new words, earn more points and learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of my own human reasoning.

When we walk in the Spirit, we stop making our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans for our day instead. We stop considering our human reasoning and seek only God’s will for everything that we do and say as we follow His desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit allows us to more easily discern His prompting throughout the day. The voice of our soul eventually dims, and it is easier to hear the direction of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us an example of Your love and deliverance by freeing Israel from Egyptian control. In our similar dire circumstances, You always give us Your comfort, which increases our joy (Psalm 94:19). When we are overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and fears, You are right there within us.

You care about Your children who honor and obey You (Psalm 15:19). Our only true joy is in You, because You give us triumph over life’s hurdles as we feast even now on our inheritance as Your children (Isaiah 58:14).

Thought for the Day:
When we walk in the Spirit, we listen for His peace, which surpasses human understanding; therefore, we have less anxiety, because we pray about each moment of our day. – Philippians 4:6

Aging Gracefully

Getting old is difficult. Energy, bodily organ functions, and attention span all diminish; while aches and pains, pill intake and doctor bills all increase. We get discouraged, lose self-esteem and feel useless in so many areas.

Eventually, we even have to cut back on our energy outgo; limiting our activities to one major event a day. Many are required to give up the keys to the car, join a geriatrics exercise program and get more sleep with less productivity.

God knew, before we were born, that we would grow old  (Ephesians 2:10). He has plans for us, which includes this time in our life (Jeremiah 29:11). We do not need to confine our self to the rocking chair on the front porch – although that is fun sometimes too.

We just change our focus and keep a positive attitude. We keep walking in the Spirit and continue to fulfill the will of God for each moment of our life. We exchange youthful ministries for the equally as important ministry of prayer and mentoring (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Titus 2:4).

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, we worship Him by singing and praying the scripture. We lift up the needs of our fellow Saints and family members, the church’s pastor and staff and the ministry leaders and volunteers, the world and its leaders, the persecuted church and the unreached people groups.

Another way to minister is by writing a blog, emailing, fellowshipping on social media and private messages and texts. This way, we can communicate and minister all over the country and the world.

God teaches us to set boundaries around our time; to take a day off; to enjoy time in nature, at the pool or walking on trails each day; to play with our pets; to write letters and books and to make cards to brighten someone’s day; to bake a pie or a dozen cookies to share with the neighborhood kids after school – all in His name and all for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, when we are drained, worn and weary from life, we are still Yours with a unique calling on our life. Remind us that until our dying breath, You call us to seek You and to walk in Your perfect plan for us by Your Spirit. We surrender all to You and worship You with all of our thoughts, words and deeds.

Remind us that the girl checking us out at the grocery, the waitress, the retail clerk, the person next to us on the bus or airplane, the librarian, etc. all need us to recognize them as a person too, and to tell them that You and we really care about them. Let Your light shine in us so brightly that everyone will see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

Thought for the Day:
God uses us in so many ways, regardless of our age, energy level, health issues and physical limitations, to share His wisdom, ways and wonders with those He brings into our life.

In Constant Union with Christ

Here is a fun exercise for you. Whenever you remove produce from your grocery bag or eat the fruit from a vine, remember that you too are a branch on the Vine, producing similar fruit for God’s Kingdom. Let it remind you that we are as dependent on the Vine as the vegetable or fruit was, which you are preparing to eat.

God grafts us into the Vine of Christ when we humble our self and admit that we need Jesus as our Savior. We are reciprients of the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. He is our Vine, and we are His branches. A vine takes the nutrients from the soil and sends them to the branches. Our Vine separates the nutrients from the compost of life and sends it directly to our spirit.

The branch does not walk off by itself, but is absolutely dependent on the Vine. All Born Again Believers have this same constant union with our Vine. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). The sap never, ever stops flowing into the branch. It provides everything we need for every moment of our life. This is the secret of our true success.

Branches participate in this process too. We have the leaves, which take time to bask in the Son and collect the nutrients from His presence. We reflect His beauty and holiness to the world around us. If the branch gets the idea it does not need the Vine, it will wither and die. The Holy Spirit uses the fruit of the Vine, which grows in our life, to benefit those who need the life of Christ within us.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our Vinedresser. You protect us from disease, insect invaders and scorching trials, which Satan sends into our life. You provide the suppliments we need to grow into vibrant branches on the Vine of Your Son. You make us fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) in order to bless those You bring our way. Send people to pick the fruit You produce in our life and remind us to generously share Your work in our life with them.

Thought for the Day:
We abide in the Vine in total dependence. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. – John 15:5